“A Play about Human Dignity”
Buffalo Soldiers: The Legacy is an original work by playwright Richard Scott. Directed and produced by Scott, the play depicts the struggles and triumphs of the African American men of the 9th U.S. Cavalry circa 1869.
KOJO Productions has staged multiple productions of this successful play, including a version in 2009 in partnership with Madison’s premier performance venue, the Overture Center.
Buffalo Soldiers: The Legacy has three significant themes. First, it follows the journey of a marginalized group of men in search of equality and justice. Second, it examines the psychological toll that racism extracts from both its victims and perpetrators. Third, it examines the way shared struggle can create empathy that mitigates racial and cultural differences.
A work of fiction based on actual events, the costumes and context of Buffalo Soldiers are historically accurate. The 9th and 10th cavalry, which began as segregated experiments, stand among the most decorated units in U.S. military history.
The African American emancipated people of the late 1800’s wanted to be recognized as persons of worth and dignity, to provide homes and quality lives for their children and a future for the generations yet to come. They needed to feel that they were a true part of society, not society’s throwaways. Finally, these human beings wanted to leave a legacy of honor and pride for history to recognize and value.
Buffalo Soldiers follows the 10th U.S. Cavalry during 1869 in the Southwest territories of Arizona and New Mexico. The play looks at how the soldiers faced racism and sought equality.
Shortly after the emancipation of the African-American slaves, many went out West looking for new opportunities and a way to provide for their families. The military was one area because they were receiving compensation of about $13 per month, which was monumental compared to what they were getting as slaves. When they went out and joined the military, they were fragmented because there were some who were escaped slaves, some freed slaves and some who were actual business owners. They came together in this new environment, the southwest territories. From 1866 to 1890, they distinguished themselves as outstanding military strategists and soldiers. —Richard Scott